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July 1, 2022 11:28 am

HRW: Palestinian Detainees Tortured in West Bank, Gaza

avatar by i24 News

A demonstrator holding a Palestinian flag attends a protest against Jewish settlements, in the town of Biddy in the West Bank July 6, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.

i24News – Palestinian detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are systematically tortured by authorities in what could amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Friday.

The international rights group called for donor countries to cut off funding to Palestinian security forces that commit such crimes and urged a probe by the International Criminal Court, according to the Associated Press.

In its report, Palestinian security forces allegedly “use solitary confinement and beatings, including whipping their feet, and force detainees into painful stress positions for prolonged periods … to punish and intimidate critics and opponents and elicit confessions.”

The accusations came a year after the death of Nizar Banat, an outspoken dissident of the Palestinian Authority (PA) – which governs parts of the West Bank – and whose family said he died after authorities beat him with metal batons.

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His death sparked weeks of protests against the PA, some being violently dispersed.

While Palestinian authorities arrested 14 officers, who are being tried in a military court, Amnesty International said the PA has failed to hold its security forces and top commanders accountable for Banat’s death.

“The Palestinian Authority continues to arrest and torture critics and opponents,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at HRW, the Associated Press reported.

“Systematic abuse by the PA and Hamas (Gaza’s ruling faction) forms a critical part of the repression of the Palestinian people.”

The report further described Israeli mistreatment and torture of Palestinian detainees in the West Bank, saying that no indictments have been issued despite hundreds of compliance over the past two decades.

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